For those of us who are brimming with innovative ideas, articulate visions and aims, a predominating sense of self and the courage to dare – entrepreneurship is the way to go! Setting up your own business might be the best career option for you if you have a penchant for risk taking and profit making.
However, starting-up your own business can never be a simple, easy or safe affair. Besides humongous investments in terms of time, money and effort, a person must also puts to a major test their mettle and self-confidence.
How To Start A Business
Formulate A Business Plan
A business is not about miracles, luck and spontaneity. It is an adventure that you must plan for. Taking the plunge without efficient and detailed planning might prove to be your undoing. Firstly, the set of ideas floating in one’s mind must be elucidated and properly listed.
Following a series of discussions, outside opinions and feasibility studies, one idea must be selected, on the condition that it satisfies the four essential criteria of being innovative, being viable, being saleable and being profitable. The chosen business idea must then be thoroughly analysed and assessed for pros and cons, options of executing, target market, probability of survival, competitive forces, etc.
Such deliberations would then lead to the formation of your business plan – the only equipment you need to arm yourself with, before invading the exciting and unknown territory of entrepreneurship. The business plan should be all-encompassing and should contain relevant details with respect to – nature of the organization (whether it would be a sole proprietorship, a partnership or a company), the names and contact information of the members/founders, the aim of the business, the revenue model, the inrastructure needed, the trade cycle, etc.
The business plan should adopt a preventive as well as a curative approach – meaning, that contingent plans that will be executed in the case of unprecedented situations must also be prepared.
Acquire And Manage Resources
Once you are suitably equipped with a flawless, comprehensive business plan and loads of excitement, the next step on the way to becoming a succesful entrepreneur is arranging for the myriad resources required. To bring the facts put on paper in the first step to life, one must be extremely cautious in the process of resource procurement.
The most important resource that a business needs will be finance – the lifeblood of any organization. The business can either be self-funded, or funded via loans from banks or acquaintances. Other popular ways of finance procurement include issuing shares and/or debentures of the company, taking assistance from venture capitalists etc.
However, the most decisive resource that can either make or break a business’s fortunes is human capital. It is crucial to form a team of members who have requisite expertise and are talented, dedicated, committed, and persevering, coupled with a sense of loyalty to the organization. Nepotism must especially be avoided at all costs, to prevent poor quality.
Transparency in the hiring procedure is not just preferable; it is an absolute must to avoid the fallouts of poor quality human resources. Equally essential is building appropriate infrastructure for the business – in terms of web-based infrastructure and IT-based infrastructure, plus physical infrastructure.
A convenient, central location must be chosen as an office. In case it it a manufacturing firm, the land for the factory must be chosen with great caution and special care must be taken to ensure the government laws relating to industrial displacement are not being violated.
Web based infrastructure includes online properties of the business – websites, blogs, social media networks etc. They must be built in an attractive manner to catch the target audience’s eye. Social media executives are often hired for this purpose. Web based infrastructure becomes all the more vital in case of businesses that are carried/promoted online – ecommerce websites, online auction stores, etc.
IT infrastructure includes the hardware and software requirements of the organization. The correct kind of PCs and computer workstations must be established at the office, with immense precision and after ensuring that there are sufficient options for maintenance.
More importantly, adequate software for Customer Relations Management (CRM), Supply Chain Management (SCM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Transaction Processing Systems (TPS) etc, must be bought and installed. Such softwares not only help one improve the quality of services, but may often also give your business a much-needed competitive edge over the other market-share-holders.
Execute And Market
The next and the most crucial step in starting your business is executing your business plan, step-by-step, accompanied by aggressive marketing. The products and services offered by the business must be effectively advertised to capture and retain the attention of the consumer and build a loyal clientiele.
A wide variety of media must be used simultaenously to build an immediate favorable image in the minds of the public. Newspaper, television and radio ads, special events, sponsorships, social media advertising etc are the commonly used tools in this respect.
Maintaining goodwill with the public that is, all the stakeholders of the business, ranging from the customers to the suppliers to the distributors to the Government, even – is also a part of this stage. It must be remembered that succesful execution must be followed-up with after-sales services, feedback and adjustment to constantly upgrade the business and its functions to rapidly-changing consumer needs and tastes.
If the aforementioned three steps make you feel that entrepreneurship is a bed of roses, it is time to reveal the many thorns hidden underneath. Many entrepreneurs often indulge in brash and uncensored risk-taking. It is essential to keep in mind that the risks must be calculated.
One should properly estimate the profits and conduct a cost-benefit analysis before diving into the deep. Also, a financial crunch in the initial stages can be a major hurdle for the business. Any subsidies/schemes offered and the most viable loan options must then be studied to overcome such problems. Also, never must an entrepreneur attempt an action for which he lacks expertise.
Aggressive marketing may not be possible in case of tight budgets and as such, a lot of brainstorming must be done to breed innovative, low-cost ideas. Nevertheless, starting your own business may turn out to be rewarding not only in terms of the pecuniary perks, but also in terms of the self-satisfaction that it offers, provided you adopt dare with care as your mantra!